Steve Cross shares his artistic skills with Rotarians

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Lifestyle Editor

Steve Cross of Iron City was introduced at this week’s Rotary Club meeting as a sawyer, artist, and historian. Those adjectives are just the beginning of the many unique interests Cross pursues.

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He has a sawmill north of Iron City, where he specializes in receiving and sawing large cypress logs, live oaks and sycamores.

His talk was accented with a slide presentation illustrating the projects he works on. He has supplied the wood for ship building and rebuilding for several projects. Included was the San Salvador, which was constructed for the San Diego Maritime Museum. “We provided the wood for the ribs,” said Cross, who oversaw the construction. He showed photos of the 1542 Spanish style boat, which was launched in 2015.

A 1957 yacht, the Mah Jong, is being completely rebuilt at Martha’s Vineyard, at a cost in excess of the $500,000 budget. It is scheduled to be launched in the spring. He is also supplying live oak for the rehabbing of the Ernestina Morrisey, the state boat of Massachusetts. He recently made a trip to the east coast where he spoke to one of the historical societies.

Perhaps he is most famous for his work with former President Jimmy Carter.

Together they made a table and chairs from sycamore. They were donated to the Jimmy Carter Auction for charity and brought $600,000.

Cross towed two huge rocks, on a flatbed truck parked outside of the Kirbo Center. He finds the rocks in local fields and is fascinated by the fossilized coral designs and other markings he finds in them.

His rocks are also turned into useful items, from stone garden benches to gravestones. One of the large rocks has been engraved and placed as a Welcome to Donalsonville sign. He also showed a photo of a fire pit surrounded by stone benches he built at the farm of Ed Mitchell.

Cross interwove his informational talk with some “down home” humor, as well as some statistical information regarding live oaks. He quoted an inventory that showed there are 100 million live oaks within a 100 mile radius of Bainbridge. Another graph showed the number of live oaks within a 100 mile radius of the Cross Sawmill, showing 5 million in Alabama, 30 million in Florida and 40 million in Georgia, adding he hadn’t counted them; but he assumes somebody has.

He continues his connective work with the Carter family.  He is taking his folk art pieces and other representations to an art show to be held this weekend at the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm barn located outside of Plains.